There were plenty of anxious moments, but in the end Richard Hendrix secured his spot in the NBA draft two weeks earlier.
The former Crimson Tide power forward was selected with the 49th overall pick on Thursday night by the Golden State Warriors, continuing a tradition as the fifth former Tide player to wear the Warriors' jersey.
"As of right now I'm happy to be a Golden State Warrior," Hendrix said.
"It was a very long night to find out where I'm going to be, but I'm happy to hear my name called. I'm excited. I'm glad I'm going to the Golden State Warriors. The name 'Warriors' is really what I think I am. I'm ready to go and give them what I have to offer."
Alabama post players have found a home at Warrior State over the years. The relationship between the NBA franchise and the Tide started in 1980 when guard Robert
"Rah Rah" Scott was picked in the fourth round of the draft and continued in 1985 when center Bobby Lee Hurt was signed as a free agent.
The Warriors picked up former Alabama star Jason Caffey (1998-2000) from the Bulls in 1998 and drafted Latrell Sprewell in the first round of the 1992 draft. Sprewell led the Warriors in scoring four straight seasons.
The Warriors' management was obviously impressed with a June 13 workout and interview by Hendrix, using his brawn and experience to counter the youthful athleticism of first-round pick Anthony Randolph, a freshman forward this past season at LSU.
Hendrix, a native of Athens, led Alabama in scoring and rebounding in 2008 with 17.8 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. He shot 59.8 percent from the field this season and led the Southeastern Conference in rebounding.
He announced on March 26 that he would explore his options on early entry into the professional ranks. On June 16, the deadline for withdrawing, the junior said he would remain in the draft. Teammates Alonzo Gee and Ronald Steele, who also explored the opportunity of early entry, withdrew from the draft and will play their senior seasons at Alabama in 2008-09.
The 6-foot-8, 250-pound Hendrix is the sixth Alabama player this decade to leave school early for the NBA draft, joining Schea Cotton (2000), Gerald Wallace (2001), Rod Grizzard (2002), Mo Williams (2003) and Kennedy Winston (2005). Only Wallace was a first-round pick and only Wallace and Williams were able to remain in the NBA as starters.
Cotton and Winston went undrafted and there were concerns that Hendrix might face a similar fate but he countered questions about his quickness and range with a hard work ethic that included workouts for 14 of the 30 NBA teams over the last month. He got himself in condition for the whirlwind tour under the watchful eye of Las Vegas trainer Joe Abunassar, who has earned a reputation for training some of the top NBA players.